Cars cheaper than Cleveland houses

Wonder how much the median price is for a  new — or used — car? Probably could find that somewhere. But not really worth the effort. But I was thinking about it while running this morning because of a story I read in The Plain Dealer yesterday.

“Has The Cleveland Housing Market Finally Hit Rock Bottom?” — by Mark Gillispie. The subhead: “Local prices plunge as glut of vacant homes are snatched up cheaply by outsiders looking to turn a quick profit.”

Gee. Another great story for the Cleveland economic development guys. The pitch: Cleveland. Home of cheap homes.

Well, probably not. Here’s a key paragraph:

The median home sale price in the city of Cleveland has dropped an astonishing 75 percent compared with the first six months of last year – from $62,000 to $15,500.

Ouch. And sad. Particularly for the residents of Cleveland and for the families involved. Folks, again, we’re facing some big problems here in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country. And we better start thinking about what we are going to do in a city where apparently you can now buy a house for about the same price as a car. And I wonder what the declining home values will mean in terms of school revenues — in Cleveland and elsewhere? I digress. And I wish I had something humorous to add here. But I don’t.

And since I am talking about The Plain Dealer I should mention that the management (publisher and editors) sure seem to be serious in doing what they need to survive as readers continue to abandon print for newspapers online. The printed version is readable — focused very much on local news (check out the front page any day) — and organized in a way that provides readers with information quickly and at a glance. Whether that will win over the young people and others who have abandoned the printed newspapers is doubtful. But The Plain Dealer is going to survive — online, with what is really a very good digital version. IMO. There is another newspaper closer to my home in Northeast Ohio that could learn some lessons here. And hopefully it will — sooner rather than later.

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2 responses to “Cars cheaper than Cleveland houses

  1. Hi Rob-

    I did read that piece. A sad state of affairs, indeed. But I do applaud the Plain Dealer for its focus on in-depth local news and long-form writing. That is one survival mode for newspapers – if they have the resources – is give something their readers won’t find on the internet or TV. Having the resources is a big if these days though. But I think the PD is definitely on the right track.

    Maybe they took a cue from the sports department. The PD always had in-depth, saturation Browns coverage. They know how to feed hardcore Browns fans with info!

  2. Tim,

    Hi. I agree. This is a sad situation in Cleveland. I try not to take myself or what I write about too seriously, but I really do have some concerns related to the housing crisis in Cleveland and elsewhere.

    On a more positive not, I like what the Plain Dealer is doing. You’re correct. The PD has the resources (my guess is that the ABJ doesn’t). And the PD’s emphasis on in-depth local news and long-form writing — as you suggest — are keys to survival these days. IMO. I expect that there are other examples in other parts of the country, but the PD might be a model for how newspapers not only survive but demonstrate their continuing value these days.

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